The endocannabinoid system is a complicated network of receptors within the human body. The role of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis, in other words, to maintain the optimal balance of your body to help it run as smoothly as possible.
When was the endocannabinoid system discovered?
The endocannabinoid system was first identified in the 1990s. The endocannabinoid system has sparked a new wave of research thanks to the recent surge in CBD consumption. Research closely links cannabis with modern nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are any products derived from food sources with extra health benefits. Current research is focused on further understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system.
How does the endocannabinoid system work?
The human body is sensitive and fragile. Even mild changes can cause massive issues. For example, resting body temperature is 35oC-37oC. A fever arises at just over 37oC and hypothermia just below 35oC. Your body is equally susceptible to changes in levels of nutrients, minerals or cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system can synthesise cannabinoids to maintain that necessary balance. Cannabinoid receptors act as micro managers to help the body maintain itself. These cannabinoid receptors perform their role as and when they need too. They are not constantly working unless there is a problem.
How do cannabinoid receptors work?
The endocannabinoid system is made up of a series of receptors located across the human body. Phytocannabinoids from plants have the ability to work interchangeably with the endocannabinoids that naturally occur in our bodies. CB1 receptors are present in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are located across the muscular and the immune system. CB3 receptors are located in our organs and emerge in times of trauma. Our bodies only produce endocannabinoids when we need them. They are not stockpiled in the body, like other compounds such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. Enzymes in the body help synthesise cannabinoids, link cannabinoids with receptors and help receptors send messages around the body. The endocannabinoid system is a vital cog in managing these communications, transportation and restorations.
What are the effects of phytocannabinoids on the human body?
There are hundreds of different cannabinoids, including CBD, terpenoids and flavonoids all of which interact with the endocannabinoid system in varying ways. They also have the ability to change their various effects on the human body when used together. This is called the entourage effect. All mammals possess an endocannabinoid system. All producing their own endocannabinoids and interacting with plant-based phytocannabinoids.
How does CBD help the endocannabinoid system?
Naturally produced endocannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. Phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, can also bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies and have the same therapeutic effect. Naturally occurring endocannabinoids are metabolised extremely quickly by enzymes in the body. These enzymes cannot metabolise the phytocannabinoids in the same way. This means that the phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, have a much longer-lasting effect in our bodies. So when the endocannabinoid system may not be functioning properly, you can actually help the endocannabinoid system to restore the balance by adding plant cannabinoids such as CBD to your body.